FAIRFIELD — One towering freeway sign featuring Jelly Belly should come down shortly and another one, even bigger, could go up at another location.
The one targeted to come down is the 62-foot-tall Welcome to Fairfield sign along Interstate 80 at Auto Mall Parkway owned by the Fairfield Conference & Visitors Bureau. Though not an official Jelly Belly sign, it is Jelly Belly red and topped by an 8-foot-tall figure of Mr. Jelly Belly.
At one point, the bureau planned to relocate the sign to Hale Ranch Road near the Anheuser-Busch brewery. But bureau President Anand Patel said the site didn’t work out because of a buried, concrete Solano Irrigation District line.
The sign should come down in March, Patel said.
Meanwhile, JSJ Electrical Display has filed papers with Fairfield that would allow for a new Jelly Belly sign along Highway 12 at the Jelly Belly factory. This one would be 70 feet tall, with a flagpole topped by an eagle extending even higher into the air.
The proposed sign would look nothing like the Welcome to Fairfield sign. It would feature the Jelly Belly logo and an LED display.
But before this sign can go up, Fairfield must agree to amend its sign ordinance for that area. The issue could go to the Planning Commission on March 12.
Yet another sign is targeted to go up at the site of the Welcome to Fairfield sign along I-80, once that sign has been removed. This one is to be for the Fairfield Auto Mall. It will be owned by CBS Outdoors and have an LED advertising display.
When and if all of this gets done, the one party without a sign will be the Fairfield Conference & Visitors Bureau. Its Welcome to Fairfield sign went up in 2005 to entice drivers passing on the freeway to stop and visit Fairfield.
“I’m not sure we can necessarily rely on a 65-foot-tall Jelly Belly sign to draw tourism,” Patel said.
Many I-80 drivers are commuters. Also, since the sign went up, there has been a shift to digital and social media advertising, Patel said.
He mentioned a tourism conference in Tacoma. He met there with tour operators and international operators interested in bringing tours to the city.
“I think that’s where we’ll get the biggest bang for our buck,” Patel said.
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